The second event of the 2015 ladies mid tour was played on our own North West course and proved to be a successful one for Kytäjä's ladies, past and present. The event was won by former Kytäjä player Gitta Kauppi, now representing Suur-Helsingin Golf after very solid rounds of 80 and 82 in testing conditions (wind on Saturday, rain on Sunday) while our current ladies club champion Camilla Sommar took good advantage of a rare opportunity to play the Mid Tour by recording a 6th place finish. Another former Kytäjä player, Marita Flink, finished in 28th position.
Milla's comments about the competition:
Työt eivät ole antaneet myöden osallistua viime vuosien mid tourin kisoihin, edellinen taisi olla pari vuotta sitten SE:llä, mutta tällä kertaa työarvonta suosi, ja pääsin jälleen kerran omalla kentällä, tällä kertaa NW:llä järjestettyyn kisaan mukaan. Tuttuja kasvoja oli edelleen mukana, ja kummasti lämmitti, kun osa vielä muisti minut, vaikka ei nuo tulokset koskaan ole kaksisia olleetkaan.
The second Mid Tour event was played in rather challenging conditions at EGS. On Saturday the players had a lot of wind to contend with while on Sunday it rained and rained and rained. The tough conditions, on an already testing course, were reflected in higher scoring than usual with nobody breaking par in either round and Mika Piltz's 72 on Saturday was the only round on either day of under 75.
After Saturday's round, Mika's 72 was clearly the best round and he enjoyed a 3 shot lead from Keijo Jaakkola and a group of 3 players (Petri Lehto, Jan Aalto and Andy Fowlie) one shot further back after rounds of 76. The last group for the second round would be Mika, Keijo and Andy with Petri and Jan playing ahead of them along with Timo Huuhtanen who had scored 77 (as had Mika Wikström).
The final group did not have the best of starts, playing the par 4 first hole in a total of 18 (6 over par!) after Mika found trouble from the tee twice on the way to an 8 while the others made sloppy bogeys. The second and the third were not much better as each player added another bogey to their cards before settling down to some better golf as the rain fell steadily. After the leading group opened the door with a poor start there was a constantly changing situation at the top of the leaderboard with six different players (Mika Piltz, Keijo Jaakkola, And Fowlie, Mika Wikström, Petri Lehto and Jan Aalto) each holding the advantage at one point before it came down to Mika P., Keijo and Andy on the back nine.
By the 15th tee Mika held a 2 shot advantage (following birdies on 9 and 14) but a poor drive and a 3 putt green (the puddles forming on the putting surfaces did not help!) proved to be very costly as a second 8 messed up his card. Andy's short birdie putt on 15 had decided not to go in, like many other chances during the round, which left Keijo and Andy one ahead of Mika with 3 to play. On the 16th both Keijo and Andy had birdie putts from around 10-12m, Andy's putt golf held up by some surface water and stopped 2m short before Keijo rolled his effort in across the green (after a 1 second pause on the edge of the hole). Andy's putt went past the same edge of the hole and there was a 2 shot swing.
On the 17th Keijo and Andy both hit good approaches, Andy's birdie effort caught a lot of the hole but lipped out while Keijo's effort slid past the edge. The 18th was a bit of a mess with all three players short and left with their approaches. Keijo thinned his chip over the back of the green before chipping back to 3m which Andy's bunker shot was decent and left about the same distance for par. Keijo's birdie putt, after taking relief from standing water on the green, went nicely into the hole to confirm his win. Andy's putt followed the pattern of the day and did a 180 degree circle of the hole before coming back towards him... leaving him in second place 2 shots behind Keijo.
This was an excellent event for Kytäjä with five players making the cut (maybe for the first time ever?) and two players in the top 5, Niko Helin came 5th with rounds of 78 and 76.
The Mid Tour Order of Merit also looks quite good for Kytäjä, Andy is in 4th position and Niko in 7th after two events.
Andy's comments about the event:
Last week, after a hugely disappointing European Mid Amateur Championship in Germany, I wrote on this site that I would be back... but to be honest I was not sure that was true and I had the feeling that if it was true it might take some time. My ball-striking has been worse this year than I can ever remember and I really did not have the feeling for the game at all... so I am really, really happy with the results from Espoo this week.
The 3rd event of the 2015 Finnish Tour season was played at Peuramaa and was won by Peter Erofejeff of Espoo Ringside Golf with a score of +1.
Kytäjä's Joonas Granberg had his 3rd top 5 finish of the season after finishing in a group of 6 players who tied for 4th place with a score of +7. Vellu and Henkka unfortunately missed the cut on this occasion.
The second event of the 2015 Finnish Tour, played at Nordcenter, was won by Kim Koivu of the home club with a score of 211 (-5).
Kytäjä had 3 players in the field, led by Joonas Granberg who came 5th on +4. Henri Lahdenpera also made the cut, finishing in 24th place, whil Veli-Pekka Hakala did not survive the 36 hole cut.
The 2015 International European Mid-Amateur Championship was played from the 4th to 6th of June at Golfclub Hubbelrath near to Dusseldorf in Germany.
The course, one of the most respected courses in Germany having hosted many professional and elite amateur events, was extremely challenging in a couple of ways. Firstly the tee shots were rather tricky due to changes in elevation, many blind shots, a number of dog-leg holes and sloping fairways (usually taking the ball away from where you wanted to end up). Secondly the amount of hills on the course made it an extreme physical challenge to play with many of the Finland based players commenting that it was the most physically demanding course they have ever played (that was after one practice round played in temperatures of 18 degrees... the second competition round was played in temperatures of over 30).
Once the tee shots were negotiated safely, and the ball was in the fairway, the second shots were quite straight-forward... but if you were out of position off the tee (but managed to find your ball) then the rough was just long enough to leave you without good chances to control your ball on the approach. The greens were good to putt on but sometimes very difficult to read and the longer grass around the greens (combined with firm greens) meant that an "up in the air short" game style was preferable.
The tournament was controlled from start to finish by Richard Heath, an Australian who works for the European Golf Association in Switzerland, who took the lead on Thursday with a best of the week 68 and then held on to his lead after every round for a 1 under par total of 215 (68, 73, 74) and a 2 shot victory over Nicolas Singer of France.
There was a strong presence from Finland in the event, 10 Finnish players and one Scottish player, but out of those players only 4 made the cut. Timo Tuunanen (EGS) had the best performance of the week with rounds of 75, 74 and 73 for a total of 222 (+6) and a share of 11th place. Petri Lehto of HGK finished tied for 21st place after rounds of 77, 74, 74, former winner Marco Willberg of Pickala finished tied for 29th (74, 77, 77).
The final Finn to make the cut was Miika Reunama who bravely played the entire final round with a badly injured ankle which caused him to fall over in pain after many shots and to have difficulty walking between shots. The officials handled the situation with an interesting mixture of rigidity and compassion, putting the group on the clock and telling that they should go faster (although the group behind seemed even slower despite having normal use of their legs) but also deciding that they could give Miika a lift up some of the worst hills in their carts. It's rather difficult to get through the ball properly without functional ankles and Miika hit some uncharacteristic shots because of that, but he also played some excellent shots through the pain on his way to finishing in a tie for 43rd.
Kytäjä interests in the event, at least in the playing department, sadly did not get past the cut on the end of Friday with Niko Helin (75, 87) and Andy Fowlie (80, 84) both failing to cope with the challenges of Hubbelrath. It might be fair to say that neither player quite has the right natural style for that course but on the other hand there were many notable players who also had Saturday off, including 2013 champion Bertrand Noel from France. The course simply demanded that you play well... and if you didn't then there were severe punishments awaiting you.
The 2016 tournament will be played in the Czech Republic. Hopefully Kytäjä's players will find more success in that country than they did in Germany!
Andy's comments about his play in the event:
Well, this was not at all what I was hoping for, especially in an event where I had played some of my best golf last year.
Pictures from Golfclub Hubbelrath